D-Day 75 Portsmouth

Portsmouth is the focal point of the UK commemorations for D-Day 75.

Events will take place from 5 to 9 June.

National Commemorative Event, 5 June

On Southsea Common there were live performances, military displays and tributes to the allied troops who fought in Normandy in the Second World War.

The event was one of the greatest British military spectacles in recent history, with a flypast of 25 iconic modern and historic RAF aircraft (including spitfire and the Red Arrows) and at least 11 Royal Navy vessels in the Solent.

During the evening commemorations, MV Boudicca departed Portsmouth for Normandy, with 300 D-Day veterans, all over 90 years old, on board. It was escorted by a Type 23 Frigate and met in the Solent by a line of Royal Navy vessels for a sail past salute.  This was followed by the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight over Portsmouth to mark the departure of The Royal British Legion’s ship.

The event was attended by The Queen, President Trump and the First Lady, and senior political leaders from the countries that fought alongside the United Kingdom in the historical military operation. German representatives were also present.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:“The people of Portsmouth and our Armed Forces have demonstrated the eternal affection and respect the nation holds for our Second World War generation. These commemorations have given young and old the opportunity to learn why we should never forget the debt we owe for the peace and freedom we now enjoy.”

Chief of Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter said: “To those who fought for peace 75 years ago, thank you for your service. Let’s take pride in your courage, hope from your ideals, and respect for your legacy; let us continue to stand for the values for which you lived and died.”

D-Day was the largest seaborne invasion the world has ever seen.


In June 1944, Allied forces invaded Nazi-occupied France, with Portsmouth one of the key embarkation points for many of the landing craft. It was the beginning of the end for Adolf Hitler’s campaign – within 11 months Nazi Germany was defeated.

Over 4,000 Allied troops died on the day of the invasion and D-Day 75 will mark the historic achievements of the veterans.

Former Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Winston Churchill rightly said that D-Day was ‘undoubtedly the most complicated and difficult’ operation that had ever taken place.

“This June we will show our veterans that the debt to them is never forgotten for the price they paid for the freedom and peace we now enjoy.”

Richard Llewellyn, 93, veteran of the Allied D-Day invasion of Normandy
Richard Llewellyn, 93, veteran of the Allied D-Day invasion of Normandy. Llewellyn was 18 at the time, and a midshipman on HMS Ajax.

6 June

Portsmouth residents were invited to show their pride for the past and share the feelings and emotions felt by residents 75 years ago by supporting as re-enactors followed the exact embarkation routes marched by soldiers, sailors and airmen.

The re-enactment started from the Mountbatten Centre and followed two routes through the city before meeting at South Parade Pier where a lone piper played.

Hundreds of residents came out to line the route and show their respect and local schools joined in the moving commemoration by singing songs from the era to the troops as they marched by.

6 June was also commemorated in the city with a special event in Southsea streets and a Remembrance Service at the D-Day Stone (opposite South Parade Pier) with music from the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood.

It was preceded by the Veterans’ parade marching from Canoe Lake Car Park with The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines and a platoon of Royal Marines Cadets to the D-Day Stone.

Events from Normandy were screened live on the big screen on Southsea Common including an inauguration at the site of the Normandy Memorial Trust’s British Normandy Memorial and The Royal British Legion’s services at Bayeux Cathedral and Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Cemetery, Bayeux.

7 June

On Friday 7 June between 10.30-11.30am the Portsmouth Music Hub performed a special composition for D-Day 75 – with over 600 local children performing on the stage on Southsea Common.

Unfortunately, because of bad weather, some of the planned events were cancelled and others were moved from Southsea Common.

At 6pm there was a performance by Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and young people’s choir at the Pyramids Centre.

The Portsmouth Revival 8 and 9 June

D-Day Darlings
D-Day Darlings

Southsea Common hosted The Portsmouth Revival on 8 and 9 June – a weekend of entertainment and activities for all the family featuring music and dancing from the 1940s, arena displays, military and vintage vehicles, exhibitions and displays, a 1940s vintage market, archive and war film screenings.

On the main stage there were performances from community groups and in the arena there were displays, Royal Marines marching band, and RAF working dogs and a Red Arrows flypast on Saturday.

Saturday evening featured a Sunset Concert for Heroes from 7.30pm featuring the Portsmouth Military Wives Choir.

The D-Day Darlings were supposed to be singing too but were replaced with Nathalie Gunn as they were still on the MV Boudicca when it was diverted to Dover because of bad weather.


5 June

  • At 11:30 The D-Day 75 National Commemorative Event will take place on Southsea Common. Veterans will join today’s Armed Forces and VIPs for a BBC programme of live music, performance and flypasts. Large screens will be provided on the common for members of the public who wish to watch the event.
  • At 12:45 (approx) A Royal Navy frigate will fire a naval gun salute followed by a spectacular flypast of up to 25 historic and modern RAF aircraft including the Red Arrows and the iconic spitfire.
  • At 16:15pm The Red Arrows will return for a breath-taking display of speed and agility above Southsea Common.
  • At 18:25pm The Royal British Legion’s specially chartered ship, the MV Boudicca, will set sail from Portsmouth with 300 veterans to Normandy. HMS St Albans, a Type-23 Royal Navy frigate, will escort the MV Boudicca along with four smaller Royal Navy vessels. Royal Navy ships docked in port will pay their respects, before the ship emerges into the Solent to be met by a flotilla of Royal Navy vessels who will sail past her in salute with sailors lining the decks.
  • At 19:40pm (approx) The RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will fly over Portsmouth to mark the departure of The Royal British Legion’s ship.

6 June

  • 07:00: Public event opens with coverage of D-Day 75 from Normandy, big screen, Southsea Common.
  • 07:25: Unveiling of the Normandy Memorial – BBC News
  • 10:00: Bayeux Cathedral Service – BBC News
  • 11:15: Bayeux Cemetery Service – BBC One
  • 10:50: D-Day Stone memorial Southsea Esplanade
  • Portsmouth City Council and Royal British Legion D-Day 75 memorial service at the D-Day Stone on Southsea Esplanade. Preceded by the Veterans’ parade marching from Canoe Lake Car Park at 10.30 with The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines and a platoon of Royal Marines Cadets to the D-Day Stone.

7 June

  • 09:00: Public event opens Southsea Common
  • 10:30: Portsmouth Music Hub performing a special composition – Southsea Common
  • 17:15 – 18:00: Military Concert band perform, main stage, Southsea Common – cancelled due to weather
  • 18.25 – 18.55: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and a specially formed young person’s choir performing a composition by James Olsen, inspired by reminiscences of D-Day veterans and the D-Day Story – now at the Pyramids Centre on Clarence Esplanade, not Southsea Common
  • 19:00: Bedknobs and Broomsticks, main stage, big screen, Southsea Common – cancelled due to weather
  • 22:00: Public event closes

8 June

  • 09:00: Public event opens Southsea Common
  • 10.30 -11.00: Royal Marines marching band, Arena
  • 11.00 -11.30: Vintage and Military vehicle display, arena
  • 12.00 -18.00: Community performances, main stage
  • 12.30 -13.30: RAF working dogs
  • 15.45 : Red arrows flypast
  • 19:30 – 22.00: Heroes concert
  • 19.30 – 20.00: Military Wives Choir
  • 20.25 – 21.10: Royal marines association concert band
  • 21.25 – 22.00: D-Day Darlings –now Nathalie Gunn
  • 22.00 – 22.15: Fireworks display, Southsea Common, supported by Gunwharf Quays
  • 23:00: Public event closes

9 June

  • 09:00: Public event opens Southsea Common
  • 11.30 – 12.00: Vintage and Military vehicle display, arena
  • 12.00 – 17.00: Community performances, main stage
  • 15.00 – 16.00: Vintage and Military vehicle display, arena
  • 18:00: Public event closes


Portsmouth City Council extends parking permits for D-Day event